Mastering the Transition from Technical Expert to Leader

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Course Overview

Increase your awareness of the common pitfalls you’ll face as you move into management, and bolster your skills and knowledge to make the transition a success.

Learn how to:

  • Identify the challenges of the transition to management
  • Examine the functions and roles of a manager versus a leader
  • Identify the skills needed to become an effective manager and leader
  • Implement effective management techniques
  • Continue improving your management performance on the job

Throughout the course, your instructor will emphasize the skills required to effectively motivate and supervise others.

Who Should Attend?

  • Engineers
  • Engineering managers
  • Technical professionals transitioning to supervisory roles

Additional Information

This course is part of the Technical Leadership Certificate.

Course Outline

Day 1

New Challenges Facing the Engineer-Manager

Key Issues Identification and Prioritization

  • Define priority objectives
  • Gain consensus

Getting Results Through Your Interpersonal Skills and Relationships

  • Assess your communication practices at work
  • Grow your team’s skill base
  • Effective communication

Motivating Your Team

  • How to make the right decisions?
  • Risk analysis
  • Sell others on your decisions

Day 2

Motivating Your Team

  • Understand what really motivates your team
  • Techniques for creating a motivating environment
  • Get the most from your team

Systematic Approaches to Solving

People Performance Problems

  • Understand the causes of why people don’t attain performance goals
  • Case study on ways to improve people performance

Final Action Plan 


"I've taken several internal management classes. This is by far the highest-quality management class I've taken. Highly recommend."
Doug Eberle, Southwest Research Institute


"I basically needed PDHs–this looked like an interesting class. It turned out to be the best in content and instruction that I have had."
Ronald Bowman, Self-employed


"Learned things I'd never been exposed to before in my education or career."
Aaron Vanmoer, Lyon County Highway Department


"Great tools to utilize and improve my skills as a manager."
Jeff Van Sickel, POWER Engineers, Inc.


"Great content – good pace – well worth taking the time."
Bob Baldwin, Southern California Edison


Susan Ottmann

Susan Ottmann is a program director for the Office of Engineering Professional Development, UW- Madison. She is responsible for Master’s on-line degree programs in Manufacturing Engineering and teaches Leadership and Project Management courses.


Ottmann is known as a results-oriented leader with a proven track record of managing diverse global businesses. She has over twenty-five years of experience with driving P&L performance, strategy, commercial execution, new product development, M&A, operations, and supply chain. Susan built her success by building effective teams and working to deliver financial results, market share gain, customer focus, and employee satisfaction. Ottmann spent ten years leading large global teams for Danaher and Thermo Fisher Scientific, each with operations in North America, Europe and Asia. She spent the prior sixteen years with Schneider Electric in Operations, Marketing, Product Development, and Supply Chain roles.

Heather Smith

Heather Smith is a program director for the Office of Engineering Professional Development, UW-Madison. She is responsible for the on-line Master’s degree program in Engineering Management and teaches Leadership and Project Management courses.

Heather is known as a motivational leader with a focus on adaptability and risk management.  She has over eighteen years of experience in the test and measurement sector at National Instruments as both an engineer and a leader.  She has a track record of leading high-risk projects for consumer electronics, RF, solar, and the oil and gas industries. Her strength is a focus on international projects bringing together a diverse set of partners, suppliers and customers onto teams dedicated to the project goal. She credits her success to building a team culture of trust and respect. She believes the key to building a successful team and company lies in candor, encouraging continuous learning, and building a listening culture.

Upcoming dates (1)

May 17-20, 2021

Enroll Now

Program Director

Susan Ottmann


Create a custom learning experience

We can deliver this course as an on-site learning experience tailored to your organization’s specific training needs.